Saturday 5th February
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South
Goole AFC 2 Sheffield FC 5
Tea Hut stuff: Cheeseburger £2, tea 70p, crisps 60p
Weather: Really dull, relentless rain, horrible
Parking: Down Carter Street leading to the ground
I spent the latter part of Saturday morning looking at the various non league websites providing information for games planned to take place in the North of England. A tidal wave of confirmed postponements rippled outwards throughout the North West Counties League, the Northern Counties East League and most of the Evo Stik Northern Premier League. For the fourth Saturday running an awful lot of cash starved clubs had no choice but to put the 'match-off' boards on the gate again, this time it wasn't -5 icy temperatures, it was relentless rain and lots of it, it had doshed it down at Krugg Hall since Thursday afternoon 'non-stop'. One of my 4 chosen targets seemed to be hanging on whilst all the other venues fell around it, a phone call to Goole AFC at 11.45am confirmed that despite some steady light rain their home game against Sheffield would almost certainly go ahead.30 minutes later I was in the Match Shed en-route to picking up Frugal Glenn. The M62 Eastbound was straight forward enough despite the never ending downpour, come 2.15pm we parked up on Carter Street just up from the turnstiles. Frugal Glenn pointed out a fish and chip shop which looked ok, I didn't take him up on it mentioning I wanted to sample something from the Tea Hut inside the ground, unfortunately this turned out to be a massive mistake! I hit the Tea Hut as soon as I got through the turnstile, it looked decent enough with all the usual signs of a typically proficient properly functioning catering outlet. Now let me make it clear, I am not going to slaughter Goole AFC on here for what happened next, the youngsters in the Tea Hut serving the grub were perfectly friendly and I understand the club needs to make a profit from the food to service the reality of running a football team in very hard times, however, the cheeseburger I purchased for £2 was one of the worst 3 burgers I have ever had (ever). It was button burger in size on one of those multi-pack cheap bread buns which immediately deflated my enthusiasm because it just looked very tiny, the much bigger problem once I took a bite was the fact it was cold! Oh dear. I'd noticed that the lad in the Tea Hut didn't use a hot plate, he didn't even use a microwave, he seemed to get the burger from somewhere low down out of view and I remember being surprised how quickly it appeared on the counter. Frugal Glenn advised me to take it back, although I'd only taken one bite I decided to just cut my losses and bin it, besides there were quite a few punters lined up at the Tea Hut by now and I didn't fancy standing in the rain again. Instead I concentrated on a big plastic mug of tea I'd purchased from them (which did look quite impressive for 70p).Oh dear, problem No.2, the plastic mug gave out such a plastic-like after taste it completely drowned out any taste of proper tea, this was not a good Tea Hut experience I'm afraid, without wishing to appear over critical to the club, because I do very much realise what a great job they are doing in ensuring football for the town, they might want to have a look at reviewing a few procedures on the Tea Hut side of things. I later went back for a bag of crisps to show there were no hard feelings (or was it more to do with the fact I was starving)? Just before the game started I was very pleased to finally meet up with Reynard The Fox who runs the excellent Reynards Hunting Grounds website, it was a little disturbing to find out he held a secret flame for Arsenal (alongside his Leicester City favourites) but apart from such poor taste he is a really nice chap (I'm more of an Ex Spurs man myself). I dont think anybody new to Goole was seeing the town in the best light today, a big grey sky provided a damp dull setting for non stop rain of differing strengths, the banker of the day was the inevitable fact you was going to get wet.It proved very difficult to get any type of photographs without the camera getting soaked. A pity because there are some splendid backdrops to the football ground. Have to say like a lot of folk I'm not particularly keen on running tracks around football pitches and I reckon this fact had a great deal to do with my inability to get into this match as closely as I usually do, the action seemed a bit removed and stuggled to hold my attention, I suppose the first half was a bit scrappy and it seemed to just pass me by. From what I did take in Sheffield seemed the more consistent side and did put one or two decent moves together, Goole appeared to have a problem in getting delivery from midfield and applying pressure upfront. I was getting the impression this could be a 0-0 and when you see the final score it just goes to show how wrong I was! Smash, bang, wallup we got 3 quick goals in the last few minutes of the first half and Goole went in with a 2-1 lead and Sheffield had also lost their keeper to injury. I spent the second half on the far covered terrace opposite the main stand with Frugal and Reynard, we all thought Goole would pepper the Sheffield goal as they had lost their keeper, it never happened. Goole never got into the area's to let loose some shots, on the rare occasion they did, the replacement keeper made a superb full length stop that even Pat Jennings would have been proud of. Sheffield got right back into this game when the impressive Oliver Banks smashed in a 40 yarder from nowhere, a classic goal! The tide had turned, Sheffield grew in confidence and looked a bit sharper and resourceful with the ball, 3 more goals came before the close to provide the classy South Yorkshire side with an impressive 5-2 away win. Sheffield have been in the wrong half of the division so far this season but when one considers the vast number of games in hand they have it would be no surprise to see them quickly climb the table. Hmm... wonder what odds you can get on them for a late surge? Although this game provided 7 goals I have to say (in my view) it wasn't a classic, it was all a bit fragmented and scrappy despite Sheffield improving in that second period, the weather didn't help for sure. Things didn't improve on the journey home, the Match Shed suffered the anguish of the M62 being closed back over the Pennines, a major spanner in the works which witnessed an hour long detour over some very misty, damp and foggy moorland backroads. Apparently Frugal Glenns tea was thrown away!